03 December, 2006
First, I felt a pain in my glute. It was a sharp sort of pin pricking pain. The kind you feel when you have a pimple on your face. "Don't tell everybody where exactly your boil is," hubby said. "Tell them it is on your upper leg." I nodded. Like my buttock is not a part of my anatomy.Then the pain grew in leaps and bounds. On day three, it became too much to ignore. At office I heard horror stories of people who had to get 'cysts' operated on. "Every body in my house had to get theirs operated," a well meaning friend warned. Horrified, I returned home and called the diabetes doctor. Hubby hates hospitals, but offered to accompany me. He could see I was suffering and there was no way I could drive there on my own. On an empty stomach, I arrived at the hospital, expecting the blood test and a doctor's appointment to set the draining cyst right. But, providence had other plans. "Stay and meet Dr Vasudevan, our surgeon" the student doctor requested, even though I wanted a lady doc.We had to wait more than a couple of hours. Surgeon was not in. Finally we managed to meet a 'lady' doctor. Without even a cursory glance at my 'draining cyst', she sent me right up to the surgeon, again. Looked like my destiny was sealed.My derriere was bared. A man of few words, Dr. Vasudevan, the middle aged bald scapula and suture happy surgeon asked, rather abruptly "Where's it?" Like baring my bottom in front of surgeons was a hobby I liked indulging in. I was insulted, but his nurse obligingly pointed it out to him, and he left the room. A few minutes later, after I was modestly dressed, I found him deep in conversation with hubby. "It has to be operated on right away. If not, it will spread, causing dead tissue to form gangrene. Diabetes, you see," they both shook their heads while hubby looked grave. I was stunned into silence. I did not want this. We were to fly to Mauritius the following week, and if I was operated on, the trip would have to be cancelled. Our third cancellation in three months. First we had planned a trip to Thailand. Just as we were about to get our visas stamped and pay for our tickets, we had to cancel because of the coup there. Hubby recommended we go to Malaysia, but I did not quitefancy that trip, instead I thought Hong Kong would be good. That got shelved as hubby's sister had just returned from there and wasn't raving. In fact she recommended we cancel. "Its very expensive, and simply not worth it. Singapore is better." "Not Singapore," I said. We had been there too often. So, we settled on Mauritius, and I was euphoric. The planning and the build up to the trip were exciting.Till cyst happened. Instead of paying for the holiday, he was paying hospital bills. I sobbed, uncontrollably. Loudly and as heart wrenchingly as I knew how. I hoped the heavens would hear me and take the stupid cyst away. Was not to be.We went to the reception to book the room. "I want the best," hubby said. Like it would replace a holiday. "Oh, sir," fat man at the reception exclaimed, "we have five bookings before you. All waiting to be admitted." "Well, this is an emergency." "All of them are emergencies." I felt like I was going to be let to die without a room. So I stepped in, uninvited. "Your doctor said this is an emergency. If you don't have a room for me, where can I go? Do you have a tie-up with another hospital we can go to where your surgeon can operate?" "No." "Then?" "You have to wait." And die?We went off wondering what would happen. In the meanwhile, I was to have antibiotics after every meal. The tears flowed. Were these my last days on earth? Apparently not. The man from the hospital called. "We have a room for you," he said like he was pulling a rabbit out of his hat. "Please check in by 4 pm." We rushed home, ate lunch, packed a bag and rushed back an hour late. A lift filled with chattering young ladies appeared and somehow we crammed ourselves and strolley in. "Where are all of you going?" the lift man asked the ladies. "Oh, we've achieved out targets and are heading for an appreciation party!" Targets? In a hospital? I did not understand.Answering my unasked question, someone said, "1,700 in one week!" Got it!! Just like every other industry has sales targets, these people do too. Was I a target too? The ominous thought crept up. Who ever heard of being operated for a boil that was merely 4 days old?Whatever, I was powerless because of my ignorance, besides I am diabetic.I swore to myself and to hubby that I would never touch a sweet again, never eat potatoes, nor would I let anything fried pass my lips. I wound control my weight like crazy and would workout like my life depended on it, because it did. Next morning, I was transported, fully conscious, on a stretcher to the operation theatre. My first encounter with a surgeon's knife. Into the theatre they wheeled me as the cold metal of the stretcher chilled my skin. I was well in time. Surgeon too was sitting there, sharpening his knives. Only anesthetist was missing. Frantic calls were made. As I lay there, my hair escaping from the surgical cap, I looked at a board that had my name on it, and it was spelt wrong. Ameetha - surgical removal of cyst on glute. Muthulakshmi - amputationThe cold metal sent a chill through my bones. I hoped and prayed the doctor knew I was me and not Muthulakshmi. I prayed he did not chop off my leg in confusion. Before the thought could get me into a frenzy the anesthetist arrived, and I was wheeled into the operation theatre." Close your eyes," a nurse instructed. I did, but not before anesthetist said "hello." The next thing I knew was this wonderful feeling. A deeply rested feeling and a drifting into consciousness. I did not want to open my eyes. I wanted to go back to that restful place where I was a flower that swayed happily in a gentle breeze. Where only happiness existed. Where peace prevailed. Maybe I was coming back from the dead. Maybe I was destined to wear my solitaires longer. And I heard my mother's voice. She was actually there. And I knew all would be well again.